You are reading: Native plants for small areas

Have you ever entered a garden that makes you feel at home immediately? It’s as if you have visited before, experiencing a familiarity that you can’t quite identify, and you feel as if you are part of the garden rather than a visitor. The secret to clever small garden design is being able to create spaces that don’t appear designed at all and feel comfortable. The scale and proportion are in balance with the overall plan and attention to detail is evident. The back yards (and front yards) of Australia are shrinking, so it’s important to make every area work together to create a sense of space. Reduce the clutter and create a sense of flow from one garden area to the next.

The Plantrite team know small gardens and the varieties of plants that work together. In fact, this was one of the inspirations behind the Nativ by Plantrite selection of plants. They are passionate about their product – unique Western Australian plants.  It’s all about a range of plants that look good together, are easy to care for, waterwise and increase biodiversity in backyards. It is also about advances in plant selection. There are now so many new and improved varieties selected for either their compact growth habit, extended flowering time or improved vigour that are worth a position in any small garden.

For many homeowners, the idea of creating your own design can feel overwhelming. Follow these simple rules of thumb to create a gorgeous garden in a small space:

Think of quality and not quantity. Look at selecting varieties that go together and replicate in different areas of the garden. The guide is less species more of each. Plant varieties in odd numbers to replicate a ‘natural’ look.

Focus on foliage as well as flowers. Foliage adds interest to the garden all year round and contrasting foliage creates a further dimension

Boldness draws the eye to an area. This may be a bright coloured or contrasting plant at the end of a walkway or a strategically placed urn spilling over with cascading ground covers.

Features will take on extra scrutiny, so choose carefully and when placing in the garden ensure they look good from all angles.

Create a sense of scale. When selecting plant varieties ensure they will fit the area. A large shrub that flowers only at the top of the foliage is lost in a small garden.

Most plants are viewed at close range in a small garden – make every selection count.

Group plants with similar cultural needs together. It takes the hard work out of caring for the garden.

When landscaping with rocks place in a natural configuration, often this means burying 1/2 -1/3rd of the rock and ensure they are the correct scale.

Garden lights installed to highlight features add an extra dimension to small gardens and create a sense of space.


Clever plant combinations include:

Conostylis, Lechenaultia and Anigozanthos (Kangaroo Paws) – this combination is perfect for narrow garden beds and walkways. Low growing Conostylis create a stunning show with their fluffy cream or yellow flowers contrasting with fine foliage and bright blue flowers of Leschenaultia.

Kunzea ‘Mandy’s Surprise’, Grevillea ‘Seaspray’ and Eremophila maculata – are the set and forget combination. You can’t get a combination much tougher than this, bird attracting, foliage contrasts and waterwise.

Brachyscome, Scaevola and Marianthus – looks are deceiving, while these plants appear soft and delicate, they certainly can cope with sunny conditions. A perfect trailing combination for part shaded or full sun position.

 Verticordia plumosa, Pimelea ferruginea and Westringia – the combination of choice for sunny borders or a mixed garden area. Naturally compact and bushy, these varieties won’t disappoint.

Don’t forget to select a few bird attracting beauties for the garden areas, add a bird bath and keep it continually topped up.

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